Released the same time as Volume 1, Class Volume 2 is another set of three stories centred on the comings and goings at Coal Hill Academy. The good news is this set of stories is (at least) as good as the first! The bad news is Big Finish has yet to announce any more stories.
First up is Tim Foley’s story Everybody Loves Reagan. It’s a simple premise – new girl Reagan Harper (Taj Atwal) is everybody’s best friend and only April (Sophie Hopkins) isn’t enamoured. Particularly affected are Ram (Fady Elsayed) and Tanya (Vivian Oparah) as Reagan becomes the centre of everyone’s attention and April is forced to dig deep to bring the situation back to normal. While the core plot is clear from the earliest scenes, the story is very well paced and delivered with superb performances all round (the hand of director Scott Handcock at work!)
The second tale is Tim Leng’s Now You Know… a study of bullying, jealousy and swearing (in places) and it takes both Tanya and Matteusz (Jordan Renzo) to resolve a decades old mystery as a strange sickness sweeps across the school. It’s a delight to have both Tanya as a focus without just being the clever girl, and Matteusz without Charlie. Both actors shine in this great piece of writing, there’s great tension and a strong resolution. It’s nice to have the characters expanded this way.
On first glance the third story In Remembrance by Guy Adams could be a step too far. Enter the seventh Doctor’s companion Ace (Sophie Aldred) and Daleks (Nick Briggs). Any fears of contrived links are immediately dispelled a few minutes in when Miss Quill (Kathryn Kelly) and Charlies (Greg Austin) find a stranger in the school one evening – enter Ace. Within moments we have a massive clash of personalities, made worse when Ace brings the Doctor into conversation. The next few minutes are worth the cost of the boxset alone as Quill and Ace soon prove they are not destined to become friends.
Meanwhile Charles has gone missing and there’s a Dalek to deal with. Add to this plenty of well thought out connection to the classic Remembrance Of The Daleks and this story delivers at every point. We even get to understand some of Ace’s life post-Time War, and the work of A Charitable Earth (the organisation mentioned in the Sarah Jane Smith Adventures). In a set of three good stories, this (by nature of its subject) may well be the most talked about, a shame as they are all strong. This may also be the springboard to a future Ace series, perhaps?
As mentioned above, the Class audios work well, and we await news of more with baited breath.